Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center

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The center is home to one of the world’s most significant textile study collections. Assembled by the late Lloyd Cotsen, it consists of nearly 4,000 fragments of textiles created around the globe and dating from antiquity to the present, as well as some 100 sample books. Scholars, faculty, students and artists are invited to schedule a research visit, and the entire collection is accessible on our collections website. The center also presents rotating gallery displays and public programs inspired by the collection.

The establishment of the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center is made possible through an endowment gift from Margit Sperling Cotsen and the Cotsen estate.



Plan a Visit

The Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center is accessible to scholars, faculty, students and artists by appointment. Contact Academic Coordinator Karthika Audinet at [email protected] to discuss research opportunities and schedule a visit.

About the Collection

Nearly 4,000 fragments from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Oceania and the Americas offer insights into human creativity from antiquity to the present. Cornerstones of the collection are fragments from Japan, China, pre-Hispanic Peru and 16th- to 18th-century Europe. The Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection represents a lifetime of collecting by business leader and philanthropist Lloyd Cotsen (1929-2017). Browse the entire collection online.

Micro Exhibitions

Visit the museum’s lower-level galleries to see a rotating selection of artworks from the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection. Inspired by contemporary culture and world events, these micro exhibitions are collaborative projects with GW faculty and students. Plan a museum visit.


The center organizes international roundtables, colloquia and research presentations that examine themes from the Cotsen Textiles Traces Study Collection. Browse upcoming programs or watch videos of past programs.

Collection Stories

Explore the Collections Stories blog or follow us on Instagram @GWMuseum for insights on textile traditions from around the world, including examples from the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection.


Micro Exhibition: Silk in Byzantium


A fragment from a garment of silk samite with a twill ground. The fragment is patterned with partial floral roundels in gray, gold, and green on a brown ground.


Fragment, Egypt, Antinopolis, 6th-8th century, T-1376


A garment fragment of compound-woven linen and silk. The fragment has a blue ground and is patterned with several tan and red motifs such as triangles, arches, tree forms, and faces.


Fragments, Egypt, Antinopolis, 435-644, T-0835a-b

A textile fragment of silk patterned with a standing bird design. The fragment is tan with the pattern in brown.


Fragment, Middle East, 437-630, T-1186

A fragment of tablet woven ribbon. The ribbon is a red wool with a supplementary warp pattern in silk thread of gold and bright blue geometric chevron motifs..


Ribbon, Egypt, Antinopolis, 6th-8th century, T-1369